Monday, January 24, 2011

Palestine Papers-fabrication of the day

Barry Rubin

Several people have asked me what I think about the new “Palestine Papers” which have been "obtained" (that means the PA gave it to them) by al-Jazira, the Guardian, and perhaps others, in imitation of Wikileaks. It purports to show that the PA made Israel a big offer of peace and Israel rejected it. Naturally, this is being accepted by these and other newspapers as true without verification or considering how these claims stack up against other information.

So note the following points:

1. At best these are alleged Palestinian notes, not documents. The only material on Israeli positions is what the PA says they are. In other words, these are PA memos, not a balanced account.

2. We don't know if these are accurate or fabricated. There is ample reason to believe they are fabricated. A3. They contradict every statement and negotiating position the PA has ever taken before, pubicly or privately.

5. All Palestinian leaders know that these concessions could never be sold to their public, the Fatah leaders, or even most of the PA itself.

6. Saeb Erakat, the chief negotiator, has already denied they are accurate, even though the story is benefitting the Palestinians

7. Do you believe that the PA was ready to turn most of east Jerusalem over to Israel?

8. Note that the coverage fails to compare these materials to known major Israeli concessions that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced long ago in public and the PA never contradicted. In other words, since Olmert is on the record as having offered the PA big concessions so how can the media say now that Israel offered nothing.

9. Moreover, If this documentation were true the United States would have known about it and would have factored it into U.S. policy and statements. For example, U.S. policymakers, eager for progress, would have stepped up their efforts even further and put forward bridging proposals over Jerusalem. Yet none of these points have been taken up by American policymakers, nor ever leaked into the media, not even the slightest hint of them.

10. What's going to happen is that the PA will generally let the world believe that it really wanted peace but Israel said "no." At the same time, the PA will tell Palestinians and the Arab world that it never made any such offer. This is a clue that they would never have dared to make such an offer.

11. If the PA is so eager for peace and ready for compromise, why hasn't it been demanding negotiations during the last two years instead of doing everything to avoid them.

Apparently, the blogosphere is all atwitter about how this "proves" that the Palestinians are eager for peace while Israel rejects it. Funny, they've never had any proof before and this is not much to base your case on. Presumably, little of the above will ever be covered in the media to poke holes in this story, much less draw any lessons from it.

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